2000 G-8 Summit
BREDL's Lou Zeller was in Okinawa as a
participant at the NGO
Center which was organized by the Okinawa
Environmental Network with the cooperation of
the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Russian and American NGOs Blast G-8 Secrecy. Plutonium Plans are a Danger to All Nations.
ADVISORY - JOINT PRESS
CONFERENCE BY RUSSIAN AND AMERICAN NGOs
AT G-8 SUMMIT - 12 Noon , July 22,
2000 NGO Center
July 3, 2000 - Letter
to Heads of State of Nations of the G-8 From
Non-governmental Organizations Opposing Plutonium
Reports from the G-8 Summit
Self-reliance of Local Districts and Systems of Sustainable Development in the Age of Globalization
Lou Zeller, July 18, 2000 Naha City, Okinawa
"By the end of the 20th Century rapid technological progress, especially in transportation and communication, facilitated world-wide multilateral cultural exchange. In the 21st Century this process has taken the form of cultural globalization. In this context we as global citizens must take up the responsibility to set the rules of globalization." -Agenda of The Peoples Summit in Okinawa, July 18, 2000
Today the Peoples Summit in Okinawa set forth a statement of principles and promised to take their message to top levels of the Japanese government. TOES/Japan, The Other Economic Summit, brought together experts on social empowerment, international trade, information technology, and self-reliance for a one-day symposium. They timed the meeting to precede the G-8 Summit.
Takashi Iwami, representing TOES/Japan,
summarized the statement from the group
to the Foreign Minister of Japan to be
delivered on July 21 during the Group of
Eight nations Summit. Dr. Iwami advocated
self-determination for all people and
said, "The decision not only belongs
to the G-8, but to grassroots people
participating north and south, east and
west to discuss and decide the future of
Tatsuaki Oshiro, businessman and Japanese Representative of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, advocated a massive, rapid switch from fossil-fuel to clean energy. Mr. Oshiro alerted the attendees to the human consequences of global warming posed by imminent threat of an 18 foot rise in ocean levels which would wipe out coastal cities around the world including his home in Okinawa.
John Papworth, Episcopalian minister and editor of the international journal Fourth World Review warned the assembly of a world-wide crisis and sounded a call for radical change. Mr. Papworth said, "It is a crisis not only of militarism and greed-dominated economics, it is a crisis of massive environmental hooliganism, of a prodigious waste of finite resources, of the inequality of human social structure, and of human culture and morality. In short, it is a crisis of human existence." He drew upon the wisdom of Gandhi who said that we cannot have morality without community. Papworth said, "If we want to do justice to this beautiful plant, let us work with our neighbors to create a world which mirrors the natural world. We can do it with people power. I am not seeking here to give you a blueprint, rather am I urging you to create your own blueprint for your own empowered community with your neighbors whilst there is still time."
symposiums comprehensive agenda supported
the strict implementation of the resolutions of
the 1997 Kyoto Conference of Climate Change which
called for reductions in greenhouse gases (CO2)
and other pollutants. The symposium statements
supported other anti-pollution measures including
a carbon-energy tax and renewable energy
substitutes for fossil-fuel.
Tats Oshiro took me to a meeting tonight
of a coalition of environmental and human
rights groups in Okinawa. The room
was filled with hundreds
of supporters of the Citizens Peace
Coalition. They had speakers,
food, drink, and musical
entertainment. A lot of groups
working on environmental issues from
yesterdays symposium were there,
too. Okinawa Environmental Network
was there (they are the local
non-governmental organization organizing
the NGO Center this weekend).
DISPOSAL REMAINS STICKY ISSUE - The G8
nations failed to finalize the
financial assistance agreement for plutonium
fuel which they had hoped to reach in
Okinawa. Rumors of a done-deal had
circulated Washington for weeks. The
communique issued today postponed until next year
an arrangement to finance $2 billion for new
plutonium fuel facilities. In their
Communique Okinawa 2000 issued at the close of
their Summit in Okinawa, they stated:
"Our goal for the next Summit is to develop
an international financing plan for plutonium
management and disposition based on a detailed
project plan, and a multilateral framework to
coordinate this cooperation. We will expand
our cooperation to other interested countries in
order to gain the widest possible support
international support, and will explore the
potential for both public and private
(photo: Lou Zeller, Vladimir Mikheev, and Tatsuaki Oshiro (not shown) deliver joint appeal on plutonium at the NGO press conference in Okinawa, Sunday, July 23, 2000)
(photo: Tatsuaki Oshiro, Japanese Representative of BREDL, participating in the NGO Joint Declaration committee's final meeting. Mr. Oshiro is a native of Okinawa.)
Okinawa -- Leaders of the Group of Eight have agreed to avoid reference in the G-8 summit declaration to any specific program to assist Russia in the processing of the huge amounts of plutonium from the dismantling of its nuclear weapons, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Saturday.
G-8 will instead simply declare that it will continue with international cooperation to raise 2 billion dollars, which is the amount needed to process the plutonium, by the time of next year's summit in Genoa, Italy, government sources said.
The declaration is to be adopted Sunday.
Though Japan and the United States had tried to push for an international assistance program for Russia during the summit meeting, the issue will be carried forward to the next G-8 summit because European countries still were unable to agree on it, according to the sources.
The huge amount of high-grade plutonium is believed to come from dismantling under the START-1 strategic arms treaty between the United States and the former Soviet Union.
U.S. and Russian leaders agreed in June to each destroy 34 tons of plutonium.
Although no particular assistance program materialized during the summit, G-8 plans to come up with a plan to expedite plutonium processing to more than 2 tons per year by 2007. G-8 has been studying measures to use the plutonium to generate nuclear power or render it useless for installation in weapons by mixing it with high-level nuclear waste.
Russia is interested in using plutonium for fuel, but it cannot develop the technology by itself due to financial difficulties, the sources also said.
Japan is participating in an experimental project to burn plutonium at a fast reactor in Russia. It is planning to help Russia modify the reactor so that more than a ton of plutonium per year can be burned there, the sources said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress has already approved 200 million dollars in assistance for processing Russian plutonium. The same amount of assistance is reportedly expected next fiscal year as well.
In Europe, France and Germany have been discussing a plan to transfer a nuclear fuel processing plant in Germany to Russia. Construction of the plant was suspended shortly before its completion.
However, the plan
was scrapped before the Okinawa summit because
the opposition to nonmilitary use of plutonium
has been gaining influence in Germany, where the
government and the electric power industry agreed
to stop generating nuclear power, according to